Back-to-Shul Thursday morning minyan

June 24, 2021 at 7 am RSVP necessary—This week, our Thursday morning minyan will take place in the sanctuary. We look forward to praying together “in-person” and hope you can join us. Our Thursday morning minyan offers an intimate, contemplative experience—a way to connect with others, with self, and ultimately, with Divine Source.  Also, we are hopeful that we will soon return to breakfast at John’s Place.

For information about the service, including registration, contact the office at before Wednesday at 3:00 pm.

Please do not attend if you have any symptoms or have travelled out of the country within the last two weeks.

Update: Antiracism & Equity Working Group

We began our third meeting by recognizing the profound grief, loss and reckoning following the murder of a Muslim family in London, Ontario, and the disturbing discovery of 215 children’s bodies at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. We also discussed what the calls from Indigenous communities and leaders for responsibility and accountability mean for our work. Please see the links below: for a letter from Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc on how to support that First Nations Government, interviews with Indigenous leaders, and the Indigenous organizations accepting contributions.

We attended the Union for Reform Judaism’s fantastic three-part REDI (Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) series covering how to intentionally build Jewish communities of belonging, to deepen understanding of identities, biases, and much more. We are happy to share the wonderful resources we received, so please reach out if interested! 

We will attend their next 4-part Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Community Training Series: How to create a DEI Working Group & Assess Our Community DEI Efforts on July 28, August 4, 11, and 18, 2021. We welcome anyone interested to sign up and join us! You can register and see the training series description here:

Stay tuned for the first community event that we are planning for October, after the High Holy Days.

The group’s fourth meeting will be on Thursday July 8, 2021 from 6:30 – 8 pm. Please contact the office for more information and the meeting Zoom link.

How to support Tḱemlúps te Secwepemc
Two excellent interviews on CBC’s The Current with Indigenous leaders Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director at the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and Murray Sinclair, former Canadian Senator and former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Indigenous organizations accepting contributions

The Way of the Klezmer: Klezmer and Yiddish Song

Sunday, June 20, 2021, at 7:30 pm—Journeys of Jewish Music, sponsored by the Victoria Jewish Community Choir, brings Moshe Denburg back for the sixth and last conversation in the series. Moshe will explore the Ashkenazi stream of Jewish music and answer some of the following questions: What is Klezmer? What are its modes and rhythms? How is Yiddish song associated with the Klezmer tradition? How have Ashkenazi traditions of Jewish music-making evolved over the past 150 years? There will be musical examples sung and played live with participation encouraged. For advance information on the subject, consult this essay on the Tzimmes website:

Moshe Denburg is an award-winning composer, arranger, and music educator whose works have been widely performed in Canada, the US, and internationally. Moshe hails from a well-known Montreal Rabbinical family; he moved to the West coast in 1982. Having grown up in the synagogue, his knowledge of Jewish liturgy and musical practices is deeply rooted. He has traveled worldwide, living, and studying in the US, Israel, India and Japan. A life-long musician, Moshe has sung and written songs in Jewish and Middle Eastern idioms extensively. He started his ensemble Tzimmes in Victoria in 1986; he studied composition at UVic. Moshe is committed to presenting Jewish Music in its many styles and languages. His music incorporates Klezmer (European), Sephardi (Mediterranean), and North American Folk influences in several languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino, and English. Moshe is also the founder of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra and has written many large scale compositions which bring together the instrumental and musical resources of many cultures. 

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 943 1192 7875

Return to In-Person Worship Services

Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 10 amIt’s not a dream nor is it a fantasy!
Dr. Bonnie Henry’s announcement on May 25, 2021, signalled the possibility of a return to “in-person” worship services in British Columbia. Our plan is to start small, and to build slowly and safely. During the past year, we have missed seeing you “in-person” and davening together in our beloved sanctuary.

We are pleased to announce that we will hold our initial post-lockdown sanctuary Shabbat service on Saturday, June 19, 2021, at 10 am. As this is the first step in BC’s staged re-opening process, we can only accommodate 35 people. Preregistration is required, along with adherence to all health and safety protocols.

If you would like to attend, please REGISTER by emailing before Friday, June 18, 2021, at 3:30 pm.
The service will be broadcast on Zoom.

Rabbi Harry and Aaron Severs

Kabbalat Shabbat with a Thank You to Rabbi Matt

Friday, June 11, 2021, at 6 pm on Zoom—Join us for Candle-Lighting, Friday, June 11, 2021, at 6 pm for some spirited songs and music, storytelling, and a chance to say “Thank You” to Rabbi Matt for his valiant efforts in supporting us and ensuring that our Hebrew School flourished during this difficult, and sometimes harrowing, pandemic. Let’s also show our care for the whole Ponak family and send them into their future with blessings and gratitude.

Candle-Lighting ushering in Shabbat is a sustaining touchstone. Come connect with community and friends and bring Shabbat joy into all our lives. Looking forward to sharing Torah, blessings, and joy with all of you.

Rabbi Harry

Notes from your Newsletter Editor

# 1 Beginning with the June 18, 2021 Newsletter, the submission DEADLINE for item inclusion is noon the preceding Friday.
There are a variety of circumstances that prompt this change: an all-volunteer newsletter team; growing variability in publication readiness of submissions; incorporation of online links in items and the event schedule; and the need to better attend to privacy.

# 2 Since February 2021, we have adopted several measures to protect our congregant’s privacy:

  • The Congregation Emanu-El Newsletter is no longer published on Facebook or Twitter.
  • The Congregation Emanu-El Newsletter will not publish the pictures of individuals, who are neither “public figures” nor have a Facebook page, without their express consent.  
  • The Congregation Emanu-El Newsletter will not publish an individual’s phone number or personal email address without express consent.

This means that you may receive a request for CONSENT to publish your personal data that was/will be included in a newsletter item. If so, please respond promptly as we are working against a deadline.

#3 To help those who have forgotten, and those who may never have known, how to submit an item to the newsletter, here’s a link to this information.

#4 We have a temporary online newsletter editor joining us in July, so it is important that our processes efficiently include that person.
We need to be able to move in a step-wise fashion from the receipt of content through to its publication.

Sing a New Song to G!d

Monday, June 7, 2021, from 7:30 -8:45 pmJourneys of Jewish Music sponsored by the Victoria Jewish Community Choir welcomes Rabbi Hanna Tiferet Siegel who will continue our series with Sing a New Song to G!d: New Prayer Compositions.

The phrase, “Sing a New Song to G!d” is found in several psalms. Rabbi Hanna—composer of new liturgical music—will explore the creation of soulful songs of Jewish prayer, and share her experience as part of a moment when new melodies were pouring into the world. She affirms that,  through inspiration and connection, one may open the heart to “the mystery” tapping into grace.

Rabbi Hanna  will share her own compositions, and some exquisite prayer songs currently flowing through gifted young composers. These songs invite the joy of transcendence, and the experience of oneness that bring about a kind of ecstasy for composer, listener, and those who sing. Rabbi Hanna is a poet and composer of mystical music, who has recorded eight albums of original liturgical compositions. With her husband, Rabbi Daniel, she has helped build and sustain communities in Vancouver BC, Hanover NH, and Boston, MA. She also serves as a spiritual guide in the ALEPH Clergy Program. 

To register for this session, please send an email to the following address:

Join online: CLICK HERE
Regular Dial-in: Call: 1 778 907 2071
Meeting ID: 978 7083 2754

VIJFF Brings on the Laughter with a Feel-Good Film Festival

The 7th annual Victoria International Jewish Film Festival (VIJFF) will introduce its 2021 program with a Feel-Good Film Festival running June 6-10, 2021, in VIJFF’s virtual cinema ( The Feel-Good Film Festival aims at creating a shared experience with the cathartic effects of comedy.

In addition to presenting two feature-length comedies and a heartwarming documentary, the  program opens with specially-curated stand-up comedy. The opening night live-streamed comedy event is from 7:30-8:30 pm on June 6, 2021, and hosted by NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg, a Canadian Brooklyn-based comedian who will be joined by three other hilarious comedy acts. For your shared experience to go beyond the  screen, we are also offering special snack boxes (nosh boxes) crafted by Spinnakers and a “support local” initiative encouraging purchases from favourite local shops.
Festival participation is by donation. Visit for more information.

The spring Feel-Good Film Festival complements the VIJFF’s more expansive main fall festival, which will present seven films, narratives and documentaries.
The VIJFF is a program of the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria (JCCV).

Full-time Jewish Professional Wanted for Hillel UVic

Hillel BC is looking for an individual based in Victoria, to work with us in supporting Jewish students and staff at the University of Victoria. The position involves implementing programs, connecting with students, and creating a warm and welcoming environment for Jewish students throughout campus and at the Hillel House, based near the campus. The individual will work as part of the Hillel BC team.
For more information, please contact Lindsay Kerr at or CLICK HERE…